Donors in the News

From time to time, news of gifts from alumni, parents and friends of the college is highlighted in St. Olaf News. Here are introductions with links to their stories.


The Boldt FamilySt. Olaf College students will soon find even greater support for developing their career plans thanks to a $250,000 gift from the Boldt family.

The gift, provided by contractor Oscar C. Boldt and his wife, former St. Olaf Regent Patricia Hamar Boldt, and Thomas Boldt '74, also a former St. Olaf Regent, and his wife, Renee Boldt, will be used to establish the Boldt Fund for Career Enhancement. It will support programs and activities in the college's Piper Center for Vocation and Career that enhance career opportunities for students and alumni. Read More >>


The Piper FamilySt. Olaf College has received a $2,575,000 gift from the family of St. Olaf Board of Regents Chair Addison "Tad" Piper to name and support the Harry C. Piper Center for Vocation and Career.

The gift, received from the Piper Family Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, will be augmented by the college's program that provides matching funds for gifts to endowment above $50,000 to support the college's strategic plan. Read more>>


Eugene '52 and Margaret Froiland Skibbe '53St. Olaf College's Flaten Art Museum recently announced the receipt of a valuable collection of Japanese art from Eugene '52 and Margaret Froiland Skibbe '53. The gift, a collection of 180 prints by contemporary Japanese artist Yoshida Hodaka (1926–95), makes St. Olaf the world's premier holder of Hodaka's work.

Eugene Skibbe, a professor emeritus of religion at Augsburg College, and Margaret Skibbe, a retired high school English teacher, have been collecting modern Japanese art for the past 25 years. The couple met as students at St. Olaf, and they both credit the two-semester art history course taught by Arnold Flaten '22, founder of the St. Olaf Art Department, with having "changed our lives" as they learned about the world of art. Read more>>


David '62 and Karen OlsonNearly a decade ago, David '62 and Karen Olson established an endowment in the St. Olaf Social Work and Family Studies Department aimed at helping students learn how to develop and maintain healthy relationships.

And they're no less passionate today about seeing St. Olaf invest resources in that area of study. The Olsons recently provided the college with two gifts that will be added to the Dr. David H. and Karen B. Olson Marriage and Family Endowment. The first is a planned gift that will become part of the endowment upon their deaths. The second, a current gift, is one of the top 10 new gift commitments the college received this year. That gift will be doubled through the Strategic Initiative Match, a St. Olaf Board of Regents program that provides matching funds for certain gifts above $50,000 that support the college's strategic plan. Read more>>


Karen Buchwald Wright '74Until recently, Karen Buchwald Wright '74 had never even heard of St. Olaf College's Great Conversation program.

But then she sat down for lunch with President David R. Anderson '74, who suggested that the program - a sequence of five rigorous courses that traces the development of literary and artistic expression, philosophic thought, religious belief, and historical reflections on Western culture into the modern world - might interest her.

It did. So much so that Wright provided the college with a $1 million gift to establish the Karen Buchwald Wright '74 Endowment for the Support of the Great Conversation. The spendable portion of the endowment's annual earnings will be doubled through the Strategic Initiative Match, a St. Olaf Board of Regents program that provides matching funds for certain gifts above $50,000 that support the college's strategic plan. Read more >>


Dean Weber '60As a student, Dean Weber '60 was so grateful for the financial assistance he received from St. Olaf College's endowment fund that he periodically told a few of his classmates he felt lucky and fortunate to be on the Hill.

But it wasn't enough for Weber just to be grateful. He wanted to ensure that future generations of St. Olaf students have the same opportunities he did. So last year he established the Dean David Weber Endowed Scholarship Fund in conjunction with his 50th class reunion.

While he was unable to see his endowed scholarship fund come to fruition prior to his death this May, Weber - an original member of the Manitou Heights Society - left the college a substantial gift. When the endowed scholarship fund he established is fully funded, Weber will have committed 90 percent of his estate to St. Olaf. Read more>>


"I don't know what I would do without her," Slovakian native Ivana Sabanosova '02 said about her benefactor, Ann Hegge, in an interview shortly before graduating. At the time, Hegge, who died earlier this year, was helping pay for Sabanosova's St. Olaf education. "She's my fairy-tale grandmother," added Sabanosova, a music major who was one of many international and nursing students at St. Olaf who were supported by Hegge over the years.

Now the estate of Ann Hegge and her late husband, Leon Hegge '38, is continuing the couple's long record of giving to the college with a gift of $2.8 million. The gift will endow two annual awards: the Hegge Memorial Fund for general scholarships and, for students majoring in music, the Hegge Music Scholarship Fund. Read more>>


Dale and Sonya Pedersen MargerumWhen Sonya Pedersen Margerum graduated from St. Olaf College in 1952, she was a chemistry and biology major on her way to work for the Ames Lab of the Atomic Energy Commission at Iowa State University.

By the time she retired 52 years later, she had earned a master's degree in political science and public administration from Purdue University and served for more than two decades as mayor of West Lafayette, Indiana, where she oversaw a multimillion dollar river redevelopment plan, created a strategic plan for the city in partnership with Purdue University, and developed a major research park.

This lifelong devotion to science, political science, and government service - which she shares with her husband, Dale, a chemistry professor at Purdue University for 54 years - prompted the Margerums to establish an endowed fund for St. Olaf students who want to participate in research projects with faculty. Read more>>


Klara Stockdal Johnson '38For the last 25 years, Klara Stockdal Johnson's generous support of St. Olaf College has come to life every time John Ferguson puts his fingers to the keys of an organ.

Johnson, a 1938 St. Olaf alumna, and her husband, Elliot, provided the gift that established the Elliot M. and Klara Stockdal Johnson Endowed Chair in Organ and Church Music at St. Olaf, a post that Ferguson - one of America's most respected church musicians - has held since its creation in 1986.

Now Johnson's generosity will be felt even more profoundly on campus with the announcement that she bequeathed an estate worth approximately $6 million to St. Olaf upon her death January 26 at age 94. Nearly all of her gift will go to the St. Olaf endowment. Read more>>


Brock '73 and Martha Arvesen Nelson '73From the moment that Brock '73 and Martha Arvesen Nelson '73 learned that the old science center at St. Olaf would be transformed into a new home for several academic programs and a wide variety of student services, they began thinking about how they might support the project.

"The fact that a current building could be reused and modified to fit the needs of the college today and going forward was exciting to think about," says Martha Nelson, a member of the St. Olaf Board of Regents.

The Nelsons recently announced that they will provide a $250,000 gift to the newly opened Tomson Hall. Their generous donation delivers significant support for the re-purposing of a building in which the Nelsons and their four children - Thor Nelson '98, Haakon Nelson '00, Kolbjorn Nelson '02, and Berit Nelson '05 - studied during their time on the Hill. Read more>>

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